Mad About . . .

Monday Inspiration: Beautiful Rooms

13th June 2022
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As ever a random selection of rooms which have caught my eye in the corridors of the internet this week. Starting off with this pretty table and chairs in what I think might be the image that first sparked my concept of the importance of a disrupter colour.

Arts & Crafts Breakfast Table by christopher howe in a kitchen design in collaboration with @NicolaHardingandCo

Arts & Crafts Breakfast Table by christopher howe in a kitchen design in collaboration with @NicolaHardingandCo

As you can see this kitchen is mostly dark units and wood with pale pink walls (if memory serves my right it’s dead salmon by Farrow & Ball) but the addition of this blue table and chair really brings the scheme to life – you can see the rest of the room lower down the post when we get to talking about islands.

Interior Design by @fredrigbystudio ; Paint is Tiznah from @atelier.ellis ; Red Tide Chairs and Raindrop Dining Table coming soon from fred rigby studio

Interior Design by @fredrigbystudio ; Paint is Tiznah from @atelier.ellis ; Red Tide Chairs and Raindrop Dining Table coming soon from fred rigby studio

The same effect is achieved above in a kitchen that is mostly olive green and a paler wood and those two soft red chairs are so vital to this room. If they weren’t there or were painted to match the walls it would still be a great room – as would the one above – but the addition of the disrupter colour, a shade that might at first appear like a clash but is, in fact, from the opposite side of the colour wheel, turns the volume up to 11 (name that film) as it were. It’s good without, great with. So do bear that in mind when you are putting a room together. Particularly if, like me, you tend to the monochromatic or tonal in style. Adding a single dramatic colour will really make it bang. Obviously this doesn’t apply if you already use lots of high contrast colours in your design in which case the way to create the same effect would be to slice through it all with a black and white stripe – or brown and cream it’s not a hard and fast rule – but cut through flowers with stripes, muted shades with a single bright and so on. The key is to introduce a bit of tension and what might appear like a juxtapostion.

kitchen island by @ housesevendesign

kitchen island by @housesevendesign

Now, kitchen islands. Still – according to all the surveys – the number one desire in a new kitchen if you have space. The new way to incorporate them is on legs. If an island is already a tight fit then a solid set of cupboards can look like a tanker has landed in the middle of the kitchen. Far better, if you can make the storage work, to raise it on legs so you see a little more floor and the whole thing appears lighter and less cumbersome.

Above there are two sets of drawers and shorter legs, below single drawers and taller legs. You will have to work out what you need to store and how to make it work for you but even if you have an oven in yours and the legs are only 10cm it will still make a difference. If I were redoing my kitchen (I’m not) I would definitely add an island like this.

kitchen design by middleton bespoke

kitchen design by middleton bespoke 

Below, as promised the rest of the kitchen with the blue table. I mean I appreciate it’s hard to go wrong in a room like this – it’s the old Kate Moss looks good in a bin bag scenario while the rest of us might just look like we had crawled out of the actual bin (I’ll speak for myself) but the principle still holds. This room doesn’t need the addition of legs on the island to make it look bigger but it does make it more elegant. And in this shot it’s the pops of yellow that stand out making the blue all the more powerful and unexpected when you enter the room and see it in the corner.

Another gorgeous room below. The tendency in recent years has been to knock out walls and replace with huge sheets of glass – bifold doors etc but – and I speak from experience – they are slightly characterless and I wonder how many times a year we open them all the way anyway in this country. This might just be me and the fact that we had a fox living in the next door garden so we tended not to open them all the way very often. This, however, is much more in keeping with a period property and really brings the feel of a Victorian orangery. Never mind the dining table, this would be my office if I lived here. Sadly I don’t as it belongs to Leanne Kilroy, of @goodboneslondon and has now featured in both The Wall Street Journal and Remodelista and if you want to see more it’s also a location house on Shoot Factory.

mercers is a location house belonging to @goodboneslondon available via @shootfactory

mercers is a location house belonging to @goodboneslondon available via @shootfactory 

Finishing with a little sit down in this room furnished by one of the new dhurrie rugs from the collaboration between Vanderhurd and 8 Holland Street. It feels like one of those image where instead of counting all the triangles you count all the checks (don’t forget the rattan weave on the chair) and yet, despite all the different patterns, it’s a totally harmonious room. Why?

Well, firstly the colours all belong in the same muted slightly muddy palette and that’s the first thing to get right. I spoke about a disrupter colour at the top but that’s mostly for rooms that have only two main colours. Here there is green – dark and light and sliding towards blue, pink, yellow and orange, as well as dark and mid-toned wood so there’s more going on already. But, and here comes the science bit, they are all from the same muted tonal family. Next, the repetition of the designs – in this case squares – small and large, woven and printed and on different materials – rugs, velvet and rattan. So think of all these different elements written down on a piece of paper and then draw the lines between them – that is how you bring it together. Even the triangle lamp links to the sharp points on the cushions while the curved arms of the chair speak to the curved corners of the triangle (back to the lamp) coffee table.

Some of you will do this instinctively, for those that find it harder, draw a plan of the elements in a room and see how you can link them together. You are allowed one freestanding item – that might be a disrupter colour or a pattern or a material. More than one pulls the whole thing apart as it’s not longer a scheme but a collection of stuff.

And think of this not a rules – which some instinctively dislike – but as a map – a route to getting to where you need to be. As you understand the roads better you can cut corners or take back streets but the first time you do it you want to stick to the main roads and the tried and tested route.

one of the six Checkerboard dhurries designed in collaboration with @vanderhurd. Available in three different sizes and available to order through @8HollandStreet.

one of the six Checkerboard dhurries designed in collaboration with @vanderhurd. Available in three different sizes and available to order through @8HollandStreet.

I hope that was useful. Back tomorrow with the newest additions to Design Storey and on Wednesday with the next installment of the DIY series.

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  • Sue 14th June 2022 at 10:40 pm

    I think you’ll find that two of the islands are actually tables, and the other is either a chest of drawers or a sideboard. Depending on your point of view, and quite possibly, age.

  • Helena McCann 13th June 2022 at 12:40 pm

    I’m with the kitchen table query! That Mercers property oh mine how I yearned in my first house for this type of an extension, I would be given one leg and both arms! so beautiful I did eventually get my own wonderful conservatory which I fail obviously to appreciate at all now that I have it ticked!

  • Allison 13th June 2022 at 12:21 pm

    wow, I totally love every one of these rooms. The one from @housesevendesign has a brass pull on the door that I suspect hides the integrated fridge? Does anyone know where I could get a similar one in the UK? I’ve got brass knobs from Optimum Brasses on mine but we really have to pull hard on the integrated fridge door and this has given me the idea of changing it to one like in the photo.

  • Lenore Taylor 13th June 2022 at 12:16 pm

    I just love this post. I want the Mercers kitchen. Talk about good bones, eh? Cheers from Canada!

  • Anna 13th June 2022 at 11:40 am

    I implored my daughter in law not to put a sink or hob on to the Island. Now she realises the benefits. 2 children can happily make, cupcakes, pastry, salads and have lots of room when doing so! As you enter the kitchen a vase of flowers on the Island is far lovlier than a tap and sink!

  • DrS 13th June 2022 at 10:26 am

    These images are making me wonder when does an island stop being an island and start just being a kitchen table?

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